Somewhere towards the end of 2 States, a weary Krish (Arjun Kapoor) says to Ananya (Alia Bhatt): “We love each other. Isn’t that enough?” Without hesitation, she replies that it never is. It is then, when you feel your heart breaking a little at the truth of this statement, that you realise how invested you’ve become in these characters and their relationships. And the reason for that is simple: given that many of us are struggling to strike a balance between doing what we want to do and conforming to what we are expected to do, 2 States could be anyone’s story.
For so many of us, a love story like the one in 2 States is something we will both crave and be terrified of. On one hand, it is so natural to want a bond like Krish and Ananya’s that is both exceptional and normal in equal measures. On the other hand, there’s the fear that if you do find this love, you’ll possibly have a struggle of a whole different level in front of you.
2 States forces everyone to take a look at how we treat the issue of weddings and marriage in this country, and how, many times, the actual couple comes lower down in the priority list. Instead, things like saris, jewellery, and supposed “etiquette” are considered more important. When Krish’s mother tells him that she’s received a proposal for him and he mouths off with, “If the amount they’re giving is good, then say yes,” you can feel his frustration. When Ananya’s father claims that they are simple people and don’t want to be shamed in society because of this match, you understand his apprehension. And, because this could easily be your story, when Krish and Ananya are hurting on screen, you ache a little too – not just for them, but also for you. For what has been. For what might be. Or, maybe, for what could have been.
This is the greatest strength of 2 States, and this is the reason why Dhruvi Shah and I, who watched the movie together, refuse to treat this as a film that needs to be analysed for its strengths and faults. Instead, we want to hold on to that feeling that the film has given us: the tentative hope that despite how many difficulties you may face along the way, you will still find it worth your while to forge your own path and listen to your heart – be it in love or any other matter.
Our favourite scene in the entire film is when Ananya, decked in all her bridal finery, climbs the stairs, spots Krish, and suddenly breaks out into an all-consuming laugh that could, at any moment, turn into tears. It’s the perfect scene that wordlessly describes both her glee and absolute bewilderment that this moment has finally arrived. It is then, when you feel your heart swelling a little from the emotion of the moment, that you realise you still believe love trumps all.
So, you’ll forgive us if we don’t dissect the film for its pros and cons this time around. Instead, you’ll listen when we tell you to go watch it to catch glimpses of your own story throughout theirs – and to recognise that we place a lot of importance on the trivial things when it comes to marriage. After all, love is difficult enough without all these extra – and, many times, arbitrary – conditions thrown on top.